Archive | Isle of Wight

2017 – August Meeting

Please note, due to short notice cancellations of 2 speakers for our 2017 August meeting, the AGM will be followed by:

  • A talk by Dudley Johnson about the construction of his observatory
  • Peter Burgess – Presentation of the latest space and astronomy news
  • Members’ social evening – light refreshments provided

Please also note, the AGM will start at 7.00pm sharp

Please see http://www.wightastronomy.org/meetings/ for details.

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Meeting Location Change for 2017

Location ChangePlease note the change of monthly meeting location for 2017.

All meetings will now be held in the Newchurch Pavilion which is directly adjacent to the VAS Observatory in Watery Lane Newchurch – map etc here.

The Pavilion has recently been refurbished and now provides an excellent facility for us:

  • Parking is easier
  • It is marginally cheaper for us
  • On clear nights we can adjourn to the observatory

A list of the planned meetings is here.

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Clear night here on the Island tonight!

Tonight looks likely to be the first really clear Thursday night for a good few weeks.

The observatory will be open from 8pm and I look forward to getting a few ‘scopes outside and welcoming a few visitors.

The is no entry fee but we are happy to receive donations should you be feeling generous 😉

Wrap up warm and please bring a small torch to light the way across the field to the observatory.

As this will probably be the last blog post of 2016:
Happy New Year to all VAS members and to astronomers everywhere. We wish you clear skies in 2017.

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March Monthly Meeting 2016 – Change of Venue

Please note, our 2016 March Monthly Meeting will be held at Newchurch Pavilion (next to the observatory in Watery Lane, Newchurch).

As it is Good Friday, the Parish Centre is being used on the 25th of March.

The talk is titled “Death From Space” and our speaker is Ninian Boyle.

 

For those who haven’t visited the observatory, the nearest postcode is PO36 0LX and there is a map here.

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A Fantastic Moon Picture

Regulars at the observatory will have seen a fair few photos from Simon Plumley. There is no doubt that his views of planets and nebulae are among, if not the best taken by anyone on the Island. Tonight Simon showed a photo of something he openly admits he had previously hated, that thing being the moon.

Well, I’ll let you judge, but I think that this is one of his very best.

Now a little warning! It may take a while for you to see this image as it’s over 110Mb and has an original size of 6120 x 6394 pixels. Believe me it’s worth the wait….

Click here to see the picture.

Technical Details
  • The picture was started on 30th Dec 2014
  • The picture is made from 60 videos of 2400 frames each = 144,000 frames
  • Each video is quality sorted and about 40% of he frames are stacked per video to make 60 single pictures
  • These were stitched together to make mosaic
  • Cloud hindered the captures so it took 3 hours to video and then well over a week to process and put together
  • The final output image with no resizing is 2.25 meters long
  • The video camera was only 0.9 megapixels
  • Telescope was 2,800mm however the small camera used gave a field of view/magnification equivalent of around 13,000 mm
  • Moon was 53% illuminated
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February 16 – Dark Skies Event

Dark Wight skies, Isle of Wight

On Monday February 16, the Isle of Wight Observatory is holding a day event to introduce visitors to the world of astronomy. You can use a range of telescopes to see the stars, including the Orion Nebula, which is in the mid southern sky during February evenings, and join discussions about dark skies and their benefits for wildlife such as bats and hedgehogs.

Wight AONB (01983 823855; aonb.org.uk).

No booking needed, just turn up.

The event lasts from 6pm to 10pm and admission is free.

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John Wilson Smith MBE

John SmithIt is with great sadness that I report the passing of John Wilson Smith MBE.

A founder member and tireless worker for VAS, John died on Sunday 30th December 2012

John was instrumental in the establishment of the Isle of Wight Observatory in Watery Lane Newchurch and will be remembered fondly by all members of the Society as well as the wider community of Newchurch

A celebration of John’s life will be held at the Pavilion (next to the observatory), on January 24th at 11am, followed by a family only interment at Springwood Cemetery

Sir Patrick Moore, CBE, FRS, FRAS (4 Mar 1923 – 9 Dec 2012)

Sir Patrick MooreThe BBC has just announced the death of Sir Patrick Moore

A group of his friends and staff said in a statement the broadcaster “passed away peacefully at 12.25pm this afternoon”.  It added: “After a short spell in hospital last week, it was determined that no further treatment would benefit him, and it was his wish to spend his last days in his own home, Farthings, where he today passed on, in the company of close friends and carers and his cat Ptolemy”.

Anyone with even a passing knowledge or interest in astronomy will surely know the important contribution Sir Patrick made during his life – His Wikipedia entry tells the story far better than I ever will.

Sir Patrick, an honorary member of the Vectis Astronomical Society for many years, will be sadly missed by astronomers everywhere.

Roger Hayward (1942-2010)

Roger 1It is with deep sadness that Vectis Astronomical Society announces the death of  long-serving member and Observatory Director Roger Hayward.
Roger died at St Mary’s Hospital on 21st January. The Isle of Wight County Press obituary is available  here.

The funeral service will be held at St Blasius Church, Church Road, Shanklin on February 3rd. at 2pm, followed by a private service at the crematorium.

Registered Charity Number: 1046091